Les Misérables Film Adaptation Was Highest-Grossing Film on Christmas Day

By Andrew Gans
and Michael Gioia
26 Dec 2012

Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman
Photo by Universal Pictures

"Les Misérables," the star-studded film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer, was the highest-grossing film on Christmas Day, its first day in cinemas around the country.

The movie musical, according to the Hollywood Reporter, took in an expected $17.5 million.

Other top earners Dec. 25 included Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" (a projected $14 million), Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (a projected $10.8 million) and Fox's family comedy "Parental Guidance" (projected $6 million-$7 million).

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"Les Miserables," produced by Universal, Working Title and Cameron Mackintosh — a producer of the musical's original London production, 1987 Broadway bow and 2006 revival — is directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech," "John Adams"), whose vision for the film included live singing throughout the entirety of the piece.

"Tom was passionate about it," producer Mackintosh previously told Playbill.com about why the score is performed live rather than dubbed. "But I'd decided years ago that if we ever got the opportunity [to adapt the musical], that's how I [would] want it."

The cast recorded all of their singing live during filming, listening to piano accompaniment through a hidden earpiece. A 70-piece orchestra later gathered in London to record the full orchestrations that are featured in the film and on the soundtrack.

Read the Playbill Stage to Screens column that features notes, commentary and spoilers on the film.

Tony Award winner Hugh Jackman (The Boy From Oz) stars as Jean Valjean, the musical's protagonist who was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread — forever branded as prisoner number 24601 — escapes and creates a new life for himself in 1800s France. Oscar winner Russell Crowe ("Gladiator") plays Inspector Javert, who relentlessly pursues the ex-convict.

Also starring in the film are Oscar nominee Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married") as the ill-fated Fantine; Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter ("The King's Speech") as Madame Thenardier; Sacha Baron Cohen ("Borat") as Thenardier; Amanda Seyfried ("Mamma Mia!") as Cosette; Eddie Redmayne ("My Week With Marilyn") as Marius; West End actress Samantha Barks as Eponine, the role she played in the London production in 2010 and again in the show's 25th anniversary London concert at the O2 Arena; stage actor Aaron Tveit (Catch Me If You Can) as Enjolras; Daniel Huttleston as child-hero Gavroche; and George Blagden ("Wrath of the Titans") as student Grantaire.

Original stage Valjean, Colm Wilkinson, plays the pivotal role of the Bishop of Digne in the picture. Tony Award winner Frances Ruffelle, the original Eponine in London and on Broadway, also makes an appearance in the film.

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